To the editor:

The members of the Utah Rock Art Research Association would like to express our appreciation to the Deseret News for their frequent and favorable concern and coverage of environmental issues and for their recognition of the unique cultural heritage we enjoy here in Utah, prehistoric Native American rock art.A fine example is Jerry Spangler's Oct. 13 article on the Dry Fork Fremont panels and the recent decision of the owners of the McConkie Ranch to close the property to the general public after the first of the year. Their decision is based upon valid reasoning, particularly where our county and state governments have historically done little to protect these priceless vestiges of the past.

The state of Utah, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and the Forest Service, however, are now beginning to realize the importance of rock art for its tourism value and the need to protect these fast-disappearing treasures from rampant vandalism and unwise overdevelopment. An interagency task force is presently being formed by these agencies to develop a number of sites throughout Utah, particularly the more accessible areas, with interpretive signs, parking, possible walkways, viewing platforms and regular policing.

Ray Bailey

Utah Rock Art Research Association